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Senate ratifies bicam report on graphic health warning bill

The Senate on Wednesday night ratified the reconciled version of a measure requiring graphic health warnings on cigarette packs.

Senator Pia Cayetano, one of the bill's authors, presented the bicameral conference committee report on the measure during the day's plenary session.

No one objected to the reconciled version of the proposed legislation.

Congress members agreed to require cigarette manufacturers to use half of cigarette packs' display area for pictures showing the ill effects of smoking.

The graphic health warnings should appear on the lower portion of the front and back panels of the cigarette packs, based on the reconciled version of the bill.

The measure also proposes twelve different versions of the graphic health warnings, to be changed every two years.

The proposed legislation also imposes a fine of not more than P500,000 to cigarette manufacturers, distributors and importers that will violate provisions of bill for the first time, once it is enacted into law.

Second-time offenders will be slapped with a fine of not more than P1 million, while third-time offenders will face imprisonment of not more than five years and a maximum fine of P2 million.

Once ratified by the House of Representatives, the bill will be sent to Malacañang for the President's approval. — Andreo Calonzo/BM, GMA News